White tie, black tie, formal, semi-formal, cocktail – dress codes can be annoying. Of course, everyone wants to respect the wishes of the host. Here’s how to decode a dress code.
Formal dress is a fashion term that describes a specific type of clothing. Formal dress is the attire worn at formal events such as weddings, debutante balls, cotillions, and high government functions such as state dinners. In the United States, formal dress sets the standard by which other countries go by. When dignitaries from other countries visit, they often don the full dress of their country.
Although experts in the fashion industry still use the dress code of the past, especially in weddings, formal and semi-formal dress has changed. Fashion consultants use contemporary names to describe the formal or semi-formal dress.
The white-tie event is now considered a very formal affair, and the black-tie event is merely formal. This is reversed from past events where the black-tie was considered very formal.
Difference between Formal Dress and Semi Formal Dress
Formal White Tie
The white tie is the strictest and dressiest. White ties can be demanded at galas, charity balls, and some weddings. Women should wear their floor-length evening gown. Adornments such as beauty and sequins include drama. Equip with expressive clothing or fine jewelry. Shoes must have pumps or evening sandals with heels. Gloves are optional.
Men are expected to wear a black tuxedo jacket with tails, matching pants, white, spread collar shirt and waistcoat. A black or white bow tie is important, and gloves are optional. The shoes should be a black patent leather cap, toe, or wingtips.
Formal Black Tie
The black-tie is formal, but also a little more flexible. Nowadays, women do not have to wear a floor-length gown, but it is still a traditional dress. Fancy dresses that fall between knee-length and mid-calf length are acceptable. Choose luxurious fabrics or jewelry to create a small hemline. High heels are essential, and jewelry adds beauty.
Boys should still wear black tuxedos and white collared shirts but can skip waistcoats for waistbands. Long tie and bow tie are appropriate but should be black to match. The shoes should be a black patent leather cap, toe, or wingtips. Suspenders and cuff links are optional accessories.